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Dairy Industry.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 11 March 2010

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Questions (33)

Niall Collins


30 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the progress that has been made to date by the high level group on milk; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11858/10]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

The EU Commission set up the High Level Expert Group on milk last October, following a special Council of Ministers meeting to discuss measures to manage the dairy market in the period up to and beyond quota abolition in 2015. The Group includes representatives from all member states, is chaired by the Commission's Director General of Agriculture, and is examining the type of arrangements that might be put in place.

The work programme of the High Level Group has been divided into four discussion blocks. Block 1 deals with contractual relations, the bargaining power of producers and price transparency, taking into account the experience of systems in place outside the EU. Block 2 examines the appropriateness of existing market instruments and the possibility of a futures market for dairy, again in the context of experiences in 3rd countries. Block 3 covers information on markets and products (quality, health and labelling issues). Block 4 deals with innovation and research with a view to improving competitiveness.

There have been six meetings to date out of a total of about ten planned. In addition to exchanges of views between Member States, the group has heard presentations from representative organisations for producers, processors, distributors, retailers and consumers, and from non-EU countries. It has also had exchanges with leading academics and with representatives from DG Competition and national competition authorities. The next meeting on the 16th March will look at Block 3 issues. The Group is scheduled to report on its deliberations no later than June 2010.